The State of the Shelter: A Progress Report to the Alameda Community
Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter (FAAS) assumed responsibility for the Alameda Animal Shelter just over two years ago on Jan. 1, 2012. Since then, FAAS has made great progress toward its goal of making the shelter a safe haven for homeless animals and a resource to the community. Here are some highlights of our accomplishments this past year:
Increased adoptions: An aggressive marketing effort is successfully moving more animals into their new forever homes. A total of 475 animals were adopted from the shelter during 2013 — an increase over the 455 adopted in 2012. FAAS held numerous adoption specials such as Free Adoption Fridays, Senior Specials and a “Name Your Own Adoption Fee,” which attracted more people to the shelter. Videos of adoptable pets were taken and posted on both the FAAS Facebook page and YouTube, providing great introductions to the many wonderful pets at the shelter.
Expanded our rescue group network: A total of 233 animals were transferred to rescue groups in 2013, representing an increase of more than 500 percent. Rescues are a major resource for FAAS because they help alleviate overcrowding. FAAS is always eager to have rescue groups visit the shelter and take animals that they can foster and find new homes for.
Improved the health status of shelter animals: FAAS works closely with all three veterinary hospitals in Alameda — Providence Veterinary Hospital and Clinic, Park Centre Animal Hospital and Alameda Pet Hospital — to ensure that the medical needs of our shelter pets are met. Through the generosity of supporters, FAAS created the Angel Fund to help the many sick and injured stray pets brought to the shelter.
Since improving the enrichment of the animals generally improves their overall health, FAAS also introduced an improved enrichment program in 2013 where dogs and cats receive more toys and other positive stimulation. In addition, dogs are walked more frequently and clicker training is now being done with some of the dogs. A few of the bully breed dogs have started attending Oakland Animal Services training classes with volunteers, which has been helpful for both the dogs and their handlers.
Maintained low euthanasia rate: The euthanasia rate continues to drop and is now at just six percent — the lowest of any shelter in the Bay Area that, like Alameda’s, is required by law to accept all companion animals brought to it. FAAS has been able to keep the rate low in part due to the help of local veterinarians and donors to our Angel Fund, which helps rehabilitate sick or injured animals. The majority of animals euthanized during the year had diseases or injuries that were untreatable. Animals are sheltered for as long as it takes to find them new homes and are never euthanized due to limited space or for running out of time.
Increased the number of volunteers and variety of jobs: The number of volunteers has increased to over 145. They performed a total of 12,000 hours of service by walking dogs, socializing cats, helping with events, doing office work, fostering kittens and puppies, cleaning and sanitizing kennels and cages and improving the safety of the shelter’s aging facility.
Opened a pet food pantry: FAAS staff noticed that numerous low-income people were coming to the shelter asking for free food for their pets. As a result of this need, we opened a Pet Food Pantry that provides free pet food and cat litter to low-income Alamedans once a month. Since the pantry started operating in the spring, the number of participating families has grown to 100.
Improved our facilities: Thanks to the Humane Society of Alameda,the dog kennel floors were redone in 2013 and look much better than before. FAAS also received grant money and donations to paint the interior walls of the shelter and we added a Kitten Kottage for the dozens of kittens that come to the shelter every spring.
Exceeded fundraising goals: By introducing a number of new fundraising efforts, FAAS not only raised its share of funds needed to operate the shelter per the contract with the City of Alameda, but exceeded that goal by $50,000.
The Wiggle Waggle Walk almost doubled in size from its first year and raised $15,000 from sponsorships and the 250 people who attended. After the Ball generated $90,000 in sponsorships, donations, auction sales and ticket sales. FAAS was also able to start a new endowment with a $50,000 anonymous gift that will help to ensure that Alameda’s pets are well cared for in the years ahead.
In 2013 FAAS found new stability and planned for the future. A new three-year strategic business plan goes into effect early this year that will guide FAAS as it grows and expands to meet the needs of both people and pets in the City of Alameda.
FAAS will continue to have a strong partnership with and appreciate the unwavering support from the City of Alameda and the residents of Alameda. None of our accomplishments would have been possible without financial and volunteer support. Thank you for making sure that Alameda’s abandoned pets get the very best care while at the shelter and have the very best chance for a second chance in a new forever home.
FAAS is honored to be the stewards of the Alameda community’s commitment to its animals. We will continue to do our best to live up to the trust you have placed in us.
Mim Carlson is the executive director of FAAS. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.